So that is it from us for this game! Sri Lanka win a pulsating Test match and avoid embarrassment by chasing down a mammoth total. Zimbabwe showed great character to take it down to the last day. The batting performance will give the Lankans great confidence heading into the Test series against India. The action will begin between the two Asian sides on 26th July. Zimbabwe on the other hand will head back home and work on their skills as they are not playing cricket for quite a while. We look forward to your company in future. Till then, take care and cheers!
Sri Lanka skipper, Dinesh Chandimal says that it has been a really good Test match. Credits his players as they have worked really hard. Mentions that it is tough to bat on day 5 and adds that the batsmen needed to apply themselves. Feels happy that the batsmen did just that. Gives a special mention to Gunaratne and Dickwella for batting so well. States that as a captain you have to be responsible on and off the field. Declares that it is a tough challenge for them against India but he is confident of a good show from his boys.
Zimbabwe skipper, Graeme Cremer says it is a little disappointing. Credits Sri Lanka for chasing a big target on day 5. Appreciates Rangana Herath for picking wickets at regular intervals. Mentions he is proud of his boys for fighting it out and taking it to the last day. Admits that the ODI series was a high point for them and it gave them the belief to compete in this Test match. Ends by saying that they have had a very good time in Sri Lanka and he hopes they will come back soon to play another series.
Man of the Series, Rangana Herath says that he's aware that he has bowled more than 23,000 balls in First Class cricket. Mentions that he enjoys playing cricket and wants to bowl more in future. States that it is good to go past the records of Marshall and Botham in the all time bowling list. Opines that it was a good game. Feels that Raza was playing a lot of sweeps and reverse sweeps and made it difficult for them. Adds that it was a challenge and they took it. Ends by saying that he is looking forward to the big series against India.
Man of the Match, Asela Gunaratne says he is extremely happy for what he has done. Thanks the team and the support staff for their support. Ends by saying that he is very happy that the team won.
Zimbabwe in both the innings were rescued by the lower order batters. That's a big positive for them. Sri Lanka have to be credited for achieving a come-from-behind victory, especially after conceding the psychological advantage at the end of the first innings by trailing Zimbabwe by 10 runs. The batters' efforts in the second innings had to be lauded as they didn't crumble under the pressure of a mountain of runs required.
The Zimbabweans can take heart from the fact that even though they were the lesser ranked side among the two, they were the side that was on top for most part of the game. Graeme Cremer, the skipper, was brilliant with the ball, claiming 9 wickets in the match. He was really probing the Sri Lankan batsmen with his guile. There were some half chances and some missed opportunities that, if grabbed, could have resulted in the match having a different end. All in all, this match proved to be yet another reason as to why Test cricket is alive and kicking.
So! It all comes to an end in the way it actually should have! Sri Lanka win and what an innings to finish it off by Asela Gunaratne. He kept his calm and played his shots and also cleverly rotated the strike to see off the tense moments in the last two sessions, ably supported in that last unbeaten 67-run stand, by Dilruwan Perera. Let's not forget the important innings that Niroshan Dickwella played, which acted as a catalyst for the run chase. Dinesh Chandimal, the new Sri Lankan skipper is elated with this victory and why not. This was the fifth highest successful chase in Tests.
Sean Williams to Dilruwan Perera
FOUR! That is it, Sri Lanka have won the game. Perera finishes it off in style. Full ball on off, Perera drives it through covers for a boundary. The Lankans are pumped up. Dilruwan punches his fist in delight. Chandimal is already down on the ground to congratulate both the batsmen. SRI LANKA WIN BY 4 WICKETS!
Full on middle and leg, Perera lunges forward and blocks it.
Fires it in on leg stump, Dilruwan pads it away.
Perera tries to sweep that slow loopy ball down the leg side but misses it. They look at the umpire for a wide but nothing from him.
Sean Williams to Asela Gunaratne
Short delivery on middle, pulled away to deep mid-wicket for a single.
WIDE! That was bowled well outside leg stump and the umpire signals that as a wide.
Graeme Cremer to Dilruwan Perera
FOUR! Banged away! That was a half-tracker and rightfully punished. Cremer bowls it short on middle, Perera pulls it away through mid-wicket for a boundary. Sri Lanka require 3 more.
Short ball on middle, Perera punches it off the back foot towards mid on.
Floated on off, Perera defends that off the front foot.
That's fired outside off, Perera looks to cut but misses the ball completely and roars out his frustration at missing that.
Flat and quick ball on off, Perera defends off the back foot.
Graeme Cremer to Asela Gunaratne
Floats that on leg stump, Asela sweeps it to deep backward square leg for a single.